The Prison State
Prison populations are booming. That is pretty well known but still occasionally when one sees the numbers, it can be shocking.
From 1980 to 2007, the number of prisoners held in the United States quadrupled to 2.3 million, with an additional 5 million on probation or parole. What Ayn Rand once called the “freest, noblest country in the history of the world” is now the most incarcerated, and the second-most incarcerated country in history, just barely edged out by Stalin’s Soviet Union.
That’s more people in prison than the population of 14 of the 50 states. And of course they are overwhelmingly minorities. Once these prisoners have, “paid their debt to society,” their prospects are dismal.
Beyond incarceration’s immediate physical and mental horrors, after being convicted of a felony, your public life is functionally over. In many states, you won’t be able to vote or sit on a jury. You won’t be eligible for public housing or food stamps. You’ll find it very difficult to attend a college, and may find it nearly impossible to get a job—like everyone else, educators and employers discriminate against ex-cons.
There are some recommendations in the linked article that make me uneasy. However the point that the huge prison population is a stain on a modern country is, in my view, indisputable.Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2012 Liberaland